Seeing through the fog of slow races
My weekly mileage is around 70 to 80 kilometres. I thought I'd mention a couple of recent races because I'm coming around to the view that I can't race at 100% effort every week (as a soon-to-be 55-year-old) and expect to race well. A recent article from Running Times about how aging runners train (Keeping the Fire of Youth) is worth reading.
On January 25 I raced a 3000 metres on the track in 12:59.93 (missing a season's best by 3/1000ths of a second!). My taper for this race was 1 day — an easy 5k on the day before the race. My average heart-rate for the race was 149. My legs didn't feel fresh enough to run at my 'normal' 3k racing heart-rate of 152 to 155. On Tuesday 31 January I raced 5k cross-country race on the grass course at Stromlo in 23:30. For this race I noted in my diary: "legs tired in warm-up; not much better in race." My average heart-rate for the race was 146. Last November I raced a 5k in 22:22 with an average heart-rate of 152. My number of heart-beats per km for the November race was 680 and for the recent race at Stromlo, 686 (on a harder course). What all these numbers tell me is that while I can 'train through' races (using them as a hard training session), I can't expect great results from these races. I could at age-45, but not at age-55.
Now, apart from a few foggy races, I'm happy with how my running is going. I've done a couple of runs on the grass track at Calwell and come up with similar numbers to those I recorded in 2007 (the year of some M50 PBs), so aerobically I'm feeling as fit as a Mallee bull. I think I'll target two races for proper tapers (3 to 4 days) — the 10,000m on 16 February and the 5000m on 29 March.